IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE NELSON MANDELA BAY
MUNICIPALITY ART COLLECTION
Public collections are important reflections of society and provide an opportunity for each generation to add their unique voices and viewpoints to an ongoing appreciation of art. The art collection of the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality tells the story of art in the Eastern Cape and South Africa more broadly. Highlights have been selected to celebrate this unique regional collection.
The Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum has been the custodian of the collection since its inception in 1956. Over the past 68 years the collection has grown from a small collection of historical images of the city into a vibrant collection of over 8000 objects representing some of South Africa’s top 20 th century and 21 century visual artists. The current head of the institution, Emma O’Brien, is passionate about continuing the museum’s legacy which includes one of the country’s largest contemporary ceramic collections and an exceptional collection of Southern Nguni traditional wear and beadwork.
In recent years a new contemporary art space, the Red Location Art Gallery, was added to the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality’s roster of cultural venues supporting the arts. While this space is currently closed, the Chief Curator, Uthando Baduza, and his team have added new energy and insights into a new selection committee and acquisitions project to ensure the art collection of the city of Nelson Mandela Bay continues to grow.
In the past two years, 36 new contemporary Eastern Cape voices have been added to the collection and a few of these works will be selected to be part of the current offering on show
at the 2023 National Arts Festival.
Curated by Emma O’Brien Assistant Director of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Musuem and Uthando Baduza Chrief Curator of the Red Location Art Gallery.